Team Analysis – Therazer456’s Gardevoir + ZapCat

Hello Trainer Tower readers, I’m Conan Wild, otherwise known as Therazer456. I started my journey into doubles with the Black and White online ladders in 2013. I started VGC in 2014 with the April Friendly, my first event was 2015 UK Nationals where I got a top 128/6-3 finish with a Mega Gardevoir based team with Life Orb HP Grass Heatran. 2016 came around, which is where I got most of my results: an MSS Win, 2 Top 32’s at regionals and a Top 32 Finish at 2016 UK Nationals.

Team’s Achievements

The as a whole hasn’t had the chance to get into the 2018 live event scene yet but that should change soon hopefully.

  • Season 5 Sun Moon Battle spot doubles 1,814 Rating #1 in the UK and top 200 global.
  • Season 7 First USUM Season (Championship Battles ladder) 1,796 Rating, #2 in the UK and top 200 globally.
  • As of when this article was written the team has a 1,727 rating on the VGC2018 Pokemon Showdown ladder.

The Team

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Gardevoir-Mega @ Gardevoirite
Ability: Trace
EVs: 180 HP / 252 Def / 36 SpA / 4 SpD / 36 Spe
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Hyper Voice
– Psychic
– Trick Room
– Protect

This EV spread was essentially ripped from my 2015 Gardevoir. The nerfs to certain Mega Pokemon like Kangaskhan and Salamence make this spread all the more effective compared to the 2015 format. This Gardevoir can take an Adamant Double-Edge from Mega Kangaskhan and similarly from Mega Salamence. It also avoids the 2HKO from most Landorus Earthquakes and it can take a Sludge Bomb from Mega Gengar a lot of the time.

  • 252+ Atk Parental Bond Mega Kangaskhan Double-Edge vs. 180 HP / 252+ Def Mega Gardevoir: 130-156 (78.3 – 93.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252+ Atk Landorus-T Earthquake vs. 180 HP / 252+ Def Mega Gardevoir: 72-85 (43.3 – 51.2%) — 6.3% chance to 2HKO

Offensively, this Gardevoir can OHKO non-bulky Mega Salamence without any chip damage but any Double Edge recoil will guarantee the KO on bulky Salamences if needed. The speed lets you outspeed neutral natured base 70’s after mega evolving namely Bisharp. Tailwind will let you outspeed jolly scarf Landorus-T and anything slower. The moveset is quite simple, you have Hyper Voice and Psychic for STAB damage and to hit Pokemon like Mega Salamence, Hydreigon, Amoonguss, Gengar and Nihilego. Trick Room acts as one the teams speed control options.

Landorus-Therian @ Choice Band
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 236 HP / 36 Atk / 4 Def / 68 SpD / 164 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Earthquake
– Rock Slide
– U-turn
– Superpower

This Landorus spread lets it take a lot of hits apart from certain ice moves. There isn’t much attack investment because of the Choice Band supporting the damage output. The speed investment lets it outspeed the bulkier builds of Pokemon around the base 80-100 tier.

  • -1 252+ Atk Parental Bond Mega Kangaskhan Ice Punch vs. 236 HP / 4 Def Landorus-T: 172-204 (88.6 – 105.1%) — 15.2% chance to OHKO
  • 252 SpA Life Orb Tapu Koko Hidden Power Ice vs. 236 HP / 68 SpD Landorus-T: 161-192 (82.9 – 98.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO

The moveset is a pretty standard one. Earthquake is STAB, Rock Slide is coverage against flying types. U-turn chunks psychic types like Cresselia and Gothitelle and offers switching initiative. Superpower offers coverage against Pokemon like Heatran, Tyranitar, Excadrill, Kangaskhan.

Aegislash @ Ghostium Z
Ability: Stance Change
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 252 HP / 12 Def / 140 SpA / 28 SpD / 76 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– King’s Shield
– Shadow Ball
– Flash Cannon
– Wide Guard

This is the EV spread that has probably changed the most over the course of this teams usage, it used to have to maximum Special Attack investment and less bulk along with Hidden Power Ice over Wide Guard to hit those Landoruses. It also had a Life Orb to hit harder without committing to a z-crystal.

But changes in the metagame warranted a change in spread to what you see now. This spread can now take a Waterium-Z boosted Hydro Pump in the rain from Ludicolo if need be. And in return, it OHKO’s 4HP Ludicolo 15/16 times with Ghostium-Z boosted Shadow Ball. The speed investment allows you to outspeed base 110’s in Tailwind, most importantly Mega Metagross.

  • 252+ SpA Ludicolo Hydro Vortex (185 BP) vs. 252 HP / 28 SpD Aegislash-Shield in Rain: 141-166 (84.4 – 99.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 140+ SpA Aegislash-Blade Never-Ending Nightmare (160 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Ludicolo: 154-183 (98.7 – 117.3%) — 93.8% chance to OHKO

Zapdos @ Electrium Z
Ability: Pressure
EVs: 236 HP / 100 Def / 36 SpA / 20 SpD / 116 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Thunderbolt
– Hidden Power [Ice] – Tailwind
– Protect

The defensive investment lets this Zapdos avoid a 2HKO from unboosted Landorus-T Adamant Rock Slide and you can OHKO non-bulky Landoruses just under 50% of the time with HP Ice if need be. The Electrium-Z boosted Thunderbolts also OHKO nearly all Tapu Fini, unboosted Celesteela and chunk Pokemon like Kangaskhan, Metagross, Heatran etc.

  • 252+ Atk Landorus-T Rock Slide vs. 236 HP / 100 Def Zapdos: 78-92 (40 – 47.1%) — guaranteed 3HKO
  • 36+ SpA Zapdos Gigavolt Havoc (175 BP) vs. 252 HP / 44+ SpD Tapu Fini: 192-228 (108.4 – 128.8%) — guaranteed OHKO

The speed investment does a similar job to what it does for Landorus. It creeps bulky Pokemon around similar speed tiers, for example, other Zapdos, slow Tapu Lele’s, slower Kangaskhan. The Pressure trigger before the turn is a good way to check whether or not you outspeed the opposing Pokemon.

The moveset for Zapdos here includes a consistent STAB option in Thunderbolt, necessary coverage in the form of HP Ice, Tailwind for the team’s second form of speed control and Protect. Protect would normally be replaced for roost on any Misty Seed sets.

Tapu Fini @ Aguav Berry
Ability: Misty Surge
EVs: 244 HP / 100 Def / 36 SpA / 20 SpD / 108 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Muddy Water
– Moonblast
– Calm Mind
– Protect

Tapu Fini is one of the team’s defensive linchpins. This spread lets Fini take a Modest Life Orb Thunderbolt from Tapu Koko outside of Electric Terrain, or a max attack Landorus-T Tectonic Rage. The speed investment is a massive creep for other Tapu Fini and Pokemon in similar speed tiers. The Special Attack is what was leftover. The Aguav berry lets Tapu Fini generally stick around a lot longer than it should in most cases, especially with setup.

  • 252+ SpA Life Orb Tapu Koko Thunderbolt vs. 244 HP / 20 SpD Tapu Fini: 140-166 (79.5 – 94.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252+ Atk Landorus-T Tectonic Rage (180 BP) vs. 244 HP / 100 Def Tapu Fini: 148-175 (84 – 99.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Muddy Water and Moonblast are good STAB damage options with near perfect coverage for each other. Calm Mind helps with Fini’s bulk and damage output if you can set up safely.

Incineroar @ Assault Vest
Ability: Blaze
EVs: 236 HP / 116 Atk / 76 Def / 68 SpD / 12 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Fake Out
– Flare Blitz
– Knock Off
– Snarl

My Incineroar can eat up just about anything under the sun, barring Super Effective Z-moves. Earthquake from Landorus, Kartana’s Sacred Sword, Rock Slides from Lando or Tyranitar, Moonblasts from Tapu Lele, Thunderbolts from Tapu Koko and even some Super Effective special hits.

  • 252+ Atk Landorus-T Earthquake vs. 236 HP / 76 Def Incineroar: 152-182 (76 – 91%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252+ SpA Life Orb Tapu Koko Gigavolt Havoc (175 BP) vs. 236 HP / 68 SpD Assault Vest Incineroar in Electric Terrain: 175-207 (87.5 – 103.5%) — 18.8% chance to OHKO (I know this is an impossible calc, but it’s just an example of how bulky Incineroar can be.)

The moveset has changed a little over the course of the team’s usage. Fake Out is the main reason you would consider Incineroar as a fire type in the first place. Its fire/dark typing is useful, as it walls off Pokemon such as Aegislash, Cresselia, Charizard-y, Heatran and Tapu Lele among others.

Flare Blitz and Knock Off are the STAB moves of choice on this set. Flare Blitz for big damage output and potential shenanigans knocking yourself into Blaze damage range. Knock Off is a great utility move which does good damage against targets weak to dark damage. Snarl is there to slow down special attackers like the Island Guardians, Charizard-y, Torkoal and Rain teams.

Team Play

This is a team which likes control. In essence, this generally happens by getting up speed control which your opponent will have trouble managing. As an example, if facing CHALK-like teams, you will want Tailwind early-game so you can outspeed the Kangaskhan/Landorus with Zapdos and Gardevoir.

Core Combinations and Common Leads

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Zapdos + Landorus-T: Probably the team’s most common lead against CHALK teams. Landorus intimidates any physical attackers at turn 0, which helps Zapdos set Tailwind up, whilst Landorus applies damage pressure.

+

Gardevoir + Landorus-T: A good lead to help Gardevoir take physical hits and threaten certain steels with EQ/Superpower. You can U-turn with Landorus to get Incineroar in for Fake Out if necessary to protect Gardevoir.

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Gardevoir + Incineroar: The lead of choice if you want Trick Room up immediately, or to stop an opposing setup strategy.

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Zapdos + Tapu Fini/Aegislash: Against rain/Mega Metagross Tapu Lele matchups. Tapu Fini can either set up Calm Mind in front of rain or disrupt Tapu Lele’s Psychic Terrain to lower the collective damage output of Mega Metagross and its partners. Zapdos helps here with Tailwind and the odd Gigavolt Havoc into an unwary target.

Team Match-ups

Rain: Playing against rain can be scary with this team, but for the most part Tapu Fini is your win condition if you chunk the Ludicolo and potential Mega Swampert. Essentially, you want to Calm Mind as quickly as possible to lessen the impact Ludicolo can have on your board.

Team Preview/Speed Control: Another important point is deciding what speed control option you want to use in team preview, so you can lead accordingly depending on what your opponent has. If you want Trick Room, lead Gardevoir + something that can manage their threats to it.

Good Match-ups

Sand: Landorus and Tapu Fini are really good at beating the sand element of the team. Zapdos helps deal with the common bulky waters and Mega Salamence. Gardevoir also helps with Mega Salamence, Tyranitar and the odd Amoonguss you may see. Trick Room can work wonders as well if you can figure out the item on Tyranitar and get rid of the TR checks.

CHALK Variants: CHALK and its variants are pretty good match-ups to have as well. For the most part, you just need to decide what you want to bring in the back. You will always want to bring Landorus for the intimidates and Zapdos for potential Tailwind and dealing with Tapu Fini/Landorus-T. An opposing Aegislash can be a bit painful at times if it has wide guard, so you’ll want to bait that out where possible. Scouting for Ice Punch on Kangaskhan is important so you can preserve Landorus’ HP for later on, when you have some speed control up.

Bad Match-ups

Rain: This match-up is probably the worst one to face, since the team doesn’t really like eating boosted water attacks. Mega Swampert makes the match-up a bit worse since the team has no grass damage available to it. As mentioned earlier, Tapu Fini is the win condition. Try to burn their Z-move as early as possible, so that Zapdos and Gardevoir are more free to set up speed control.

Charizard-y Teams (with TR checks): Themselves these aren’t the worst things to face, but the match-up can get quite painful if they have something like Snorlax on hand. You wont want to let Snorlax set up a Belly Drum while giving it a free Trick Room. So for this, you will want to weaken any Trick Room checks before you try set up Trick Room to deal with the Zard-y/Landorus mode of the team.

Conclusion

Shoutouts to anyone who has used this team randomly on PS or the QR codes on Battle Spot. Also thanks to anyone who reads this article and to Trainer Tower for giving me this opportunity.

Credit to bluekomadori for featured image

2 comments

  1. Just A random VGC player

    Will the gardevoir spread still work, since it is from VGC15 and gardevoir got nerfed too

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